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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Suppression of Smooth Brome by Atrazine, Mowing, and Fire

Management Implications

Restoration of degraded prairie dominated by smooth brome and without remnant warm- season grasses may be limited to herbicide treatments, such as atrazine, followed by sod-seeding. However, sod-seeding is not always successful. Factors that may account for seeding failure include reduction of sod (Samson and Moser 1982), precipitation following seeding (Bush et al. 1989), or other unknown factors (Bush et al. 1989). In our study, atrazine reduced smooth brome tiller density but sod-seeding big bluestem failed possibly due to inadequate sod suppression, low precipitation following seeding, or both. Furthermore, herbicide use in certain restorations may be restricted due to the presence of sensitive species, such as native forbs. Our results exemplify the difficulties in restoring native and seeded prairie dominated by smooth brome.
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